Neither shift of ownership and power would have happened without a leader prepared to take risks with her life. In the prime Thatcher years they required a severity of will to carry through that would now, if called on, be wrapped in so many cycles of deluding spin as to persuade us it hadn't really happened. This is what we mean by the Thatcher revolution, imposing on Britain, for better or for worse, some of the liberalisation that the major continental economies know, 20 years later, they still need.
I think on balance, it was for the better, and so, plainly did Thatcher's chief successor, Tony Blair.
This is a political style, an aesthetic even, that has disappeared from view.
What happened at the hands of this woman's indifference to sentiment and good sense in the early 1980s brought unnecessary calamity to the lives of several million people who lost their jobs. More insidiously, it fathered a mood of tolerated harshness.
Materialistic individualism was blessed as a virtue, the driver of national success.
Everything was justified as long as it made money – and this, too, is still with us. The lady was too shrewd to try that, and barely succeeded in reducing the share of the national income taken by the public sector. There turned out to be no such thing as society, at least in the sense we used to understand it.
Whether pushing each other off the road, barging past social rivals, beating up rival soccer fans, or idolising wealth as the only measure of virtue, Brits became more unpleasant to be with.
She added layers of her own to this intimacy, directing the creation of a single European market that surrendered important national powers to the collective.
But on the subject of Europe, Thatcher became a contradictory figure.But a woman who, at the time, thought that chancellor was the top mark at which she might aim.Conscious of being a woman, and incapable of pretending otherwise.The first time I met Margaret Thatcher, I swear she was wearing gloves. But without any question, sitting behind her desk, she was wearing a hat. This was the feminine creature who, two years later, was leader of the Conservative party. The milk snatcher reputation absorbed and lived with.The place was her office at the Department of Education, then in Curzon Street. Lecturing me about the comprehensive schools, of which she created more than any minister before or since.She wanted to win, but did not put much faith in the quick smile.